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Review Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981): Rare case where the sequel outshines the original!

genre: horror, slasher






Friday the 13th Part 2 manages to improve upon it's predecessor significantly. Mind you it still has some flaws and is far from perfect. But if you ever had doubts about the franchise then this is the part that will explain why Friday the 13th film series has been so popular. 

Part 2 opens up with a scene where we see a pair of legs approaching an old house. Nothing to be immediately alarmed about right? But during this we hear the iconic sounds " ki ki ki, ma, ma, ma " warning us it's Jason. They then cut to Alice who is dreaming of the horrific event she has experienced in Part 1. We get to see a large part of the original's conclusion and how she survived it. Well,  to an extent since one of the story elements never gets explained and seems to be a running theme in the film series so you better learn to like or accept it. I personally think it's a real nice touch since it could open up a whole new bag of tricks for the film makers to tap in to. Anyway Alice wakes up from her nightmare and we are witness to a very suspenseful scene where she is being stalked without her realizing. This was cleverly done since we know Jason is on the prowl and could come at her any second. Of course you can guess how this scene ends. 

The title sequence starts and the new adventure begins. We get introduced to the new characters. Still not that much background given on them but you do get a good sense of who they are and what they are about. They seem to be far more serious and mature. At least now I cared for these characters as opposed to the ones in the original. One of them is Ginny who is a more fleshed out character since she is meant to be the designated hero. More on her later. 

One of the problems I had with the original how it wasn't really as suspenseful or scary as it should have been. The lack of tension and dread is a real mood killer. However Director Steve Miner  has remedied that. He has taken a lot more time to set up the murder scenes with tension and even manages to put in some real effective jump scares. There are like three or four. A good example of how to do them properly. But he has done more. Ginny is a much stronger character than Alice and she does something so bold and daring that most people would not even dare to do. Plus it is extremely clever of her. A lot of people would be too shocked and frightened to come up with any thought let alone what Ginny came up with. While perhaps a little ridiculous it is easily one of the freshest and most surprising things to be shown in a horror film. Remember the bag of tricks I mentioned? One of the tricks is the fact that Steve Miner plays around with reality and fantasy. He hints and implies things by being far too subtle and mysterious about the events I am referring to. Once again you are left with an ending where they don't bother to explain a thing. Now I happen to read about it in an article and I know what Steve Miner is implying. At the time they thought that their intended ending would be too ridiculous. So they altered it. Strangely enough by doing so a big sense of mystique was added. It is quite unsettling to be pointed towards something but failing to see what it is. Am I missing something? What am I supposed to see? No matter how you feel about it, it's undeniably effective. 

Overall Friday the 13th Part 2 is superior to the original and delivers all the horror goodness you might crave.





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